A West Virginia University fellowship designed to recruit highly competitive doctoral students has done just that.
With the Arlen G. and Louise Stone Swiger Fellowship, student Cory Bauerlien began his research at the Davis College of Agriculture, Natural Resources and Design in the fall 2022 semester under the guidance of Kyle Hartman, professor of wildlife and fisheries resources, who also nominated him for the fellowship.
“His research has been collaborative and involved citizen science,” Hartman said. “Incorporating research with outreach is a critical and often overlooked aspect of STEM research.”
The Swiger Fellowship provides an annual stipend of $25,000 waiver of university and college tuition, and health insurance for up to three years. It rewards promising science, technology, engineering and math students by allowing them the opportunity to determine their own research niche instead of working solely on their adviser's research.
Because of the Swiger Fellowship, Bauerlien feels more able to focus on his studies without worrying about the financial burden--and he already has a project of his own in the works: understanding the thermal tolerance of brook trout in headwater streams.
“From an ecological perspective, we're assessing population risk and making sure that we can more effectively manage the species,” Bauerlien said. “I want to make sure they’re going to persist because they are the only native trout in the area, which is why their survival is incredibly important.”
Both Bauerlien and Hartman believe the results of this research will have important ramifications for fish species and protein production worldwide.
The Swiger Fellowship was established with a planned gift to the WVU Foundation in 1980 and has provided approximately $10 million in support for doctoral students to attend WVU over the past 42 years.